Wizard of Oz: The fashion world is cottoning on quick to Josh Groot's bold, flowing knits

Click to follow
Indy Lifestyle Online

Simplicity is the key to Josh Goot's clothes. Like Calvin Klein, Helmut Lang and Raf Simons, his is an elegant minimalism: all pared-down designs, blocks of colour and body-skimming shapes. In his summer 2008 collection, for example, there are simple vest dresses with flashes of contrasting colour down the side and sorbet-meets- sunset-hued, splash-print separates. Even though most of the pieces are made from soft, stretchy cotton jersey (something of a signature), Goot is a master at using a block of contrast colour to lend an outfit drama or create the illusion of structure – which is no doubt why his collection has been snapped up here by first Browns Focus and then Brix Start-Smith for her trendy Start boutique in London's Shoreditch.

The 28-year-old Australian, who had no formal design training, studied communications in his home town of Sydney, and started out his fashion career making printed T-shirts soon after leaving that city's University of Technology. By May 2005, he was showing his first full collection, for which he won the Tiffany & Co Young Designer of the Year award, and he has been a regular at Australian Fashion Week ever since.

If proof were needed of his glowing reputation in his native land, last summer he was asked to follow in the footsteps of Stella McCartney and design a capsule collection for the department-store chain Target.

And while he may be loved in his home town, there is no doubt the feeling is mutual. "You can't deny the influence the place you grow up in has on you," he says. "Sydney is a very colourful city. The more I travel, the more I realise this and my clothes are very much a reflection of that."

True to his roots, there is a strong sense of sportswear in his work that captures Australia's active, outdoor lifestyle; previous collections have featured racer-back vests and athletic body-contour shapes. "I am interested in fusing different elements to create something that feels new," he says. "Working with jersey, the clothes do take on a certain sportiness, as it stretches and moulds to the body."

Similarities could be drawn between Goot and Louise Goldin, whose rainbow-hued intarsia jersey knits for this spring-summer have taken London by storm and are now available in Topshop. "Her stuff's a little bit more crazy than ours, I think," says Goot, "but I suppose we both do colour-blocking and we both do body-contouring."

Yet Goot adds that he is moving away from the sprayed-on look he favoured a few seasons ago, and his summer collection features one dress with a waterfall of pastel-toned, colour-blocked pieces flowing from a vest-style top. "We're trying to take the clothes off the body," he explains. "We're working a lot with a straight silhouette now. Dead straight."

When Goot started out, his remit was, he says, a very straightforward one of tailored comfort. He wanted to use 100-per-cent cotton jersey to create everything in his collections from trench coats and blazers to pencil skirts and pants. "And that's basically what we did for the first couple of seasons. Then, as time went on, we started to consider specific, seasonal inspirations."

Indeed, his ideal now is to evolve his look each season while creating recognisable though clearly demarcated collections. "I want our clothes to feel easy," he says. "Fashion should be easy." Looking at his work, you can't deny he's succeeded.

Josh Goot's collection is available from Browns (tel: 020 7514 0063, www.browns fashion.com) and Start (tel: 020 7729 3334, www.start-london.com)